Elementary students on the near Eastside are getting access to free books during summer vacation thanks to a roaming book mobile.
In the lobby of Herff Elementary -- a dual-language school -- sit 1,500 books in different boxes marked by grade level and language. Principal Tracy Smith is trying an experiment to get these books in the hands children in the neighborhood over the summer.
"This is the maiden voyage – maiden voyage of the Herff Book Mobile," Smith said.
Since April books of all genres have been donated, collected from libraries and a grant was awarded to purchase even more. Smith said the van will have six different stopping points.
"We did a run and pinpointed where the majority of our kids live and then we picked spots in those areas," she said. "We’re going stop at each stop for 30 minutes and the kinds can pick – we say two books, but if it’s a small crowd we’ll let them get four."
Smith and her staff load up a van and take it to the first location in a parking lot at Dreiss and Iowa Streets -- five kids show up with their parents, digging through the boxes of books.
Jill Berry-Rivera, the parent of a third grader, said the mobile unit will help keep her daughter’s mind stimulated throughout the summer
"This gives her the opportunity to pick from new books that will broaden her imagination," Berry-Rivera said.
Smith said the van will roam around the neighborhood on every other Friday for four more weeks. The next date is June 28 in the neighborhood around Herff Elementary.